Adrian Peterson believes his playing ability can improve in the future

0:55 | NFL
Adrian Peterson: 'I'm entering my prime'
Saturday December 6th, 2014

Suspended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson does not believe that his age or his loss of almost a full season will have a negative impact on his playing ability in the years to come, the 29-year-old told USA Today in an interview reported on Friday.

Peterson was suspended by the league on Nov. 4, after he pleaded no-contest to a misdemeanor reckless assault charge and was indicted by a grand jury in Texas for injuring his 4-year-old son while disciplining the boy with a wooded switch.

MCCANN: Key legal issues in Adrian Peterson's suspension appeal hearing

If Peterson loses the appeal he currently has under consideration, he will not be reinstated until after his 30th birthday next spring. Peterson has not played since the team's Sept. 21 season opening game against the St. Louis Rams, in which he gained 75 yards on 21 carries.

The 2012 MVP did not believe that potential loss of playing time would hinder his pursuit of the NFL's all-time rushing record.

"People say, 'Oh, running back hits 34, 35 (and he's done). When you get to 30, you go down.' I don't believe that," Peterson told USA Today. "I believe I'm just now here in my prime. I believe these next five or six years—or however long I decide to play—it's going to be the same production and I'm going to do even better than I did before in my 20s."

According to USA Today, should Peterson win his appeal next week, he could return to play in Minnesota's final three games. If he loses the appeal, the NFL Players Association could file a federal lawsuit and request a temporary restraining order.

Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon ruled out for Sunday's game against Jets

In eight career seasons, all with the Vikings, Peterson has rushed 2,054 times for 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns. The current all-time leader is Emmitt Smith, who gained 18,355 yards in 15 seasons. Peterson also told USA Today that he had contemplated leaving Minnesota for another team when he returns to the league.

"People thought I was crazy when I said I was going to come back from my ACL injury (in 2011)." Peterson said. "You know why? Because they couldn't believe that it could be possible. But I believed."

The Vikings, currently 5-7, are third in the NFC North, and host the New York Jets on Sunday at 1 pm EST.

- Christopher Woody


SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.